I'm having a wild love affair with pleather. In fact it's a case of pleather and patent combined. What can I say? I'm a girl who likes a wipe-clean fabric.
It started a couple of years back with a black patent tote - my first really grown up, go get 'em handbag - and quickly progressed into boxy tops (that orange Marni for H&M number), skirts, trousers and oversized outerwear.
For me, an item of pleather gives an outfit that glossy bit of texture, it says you're not afraid to mix things up. When worn right, pleather is sleek and statement-making - especially when there's a flash of colour, laser cut or pleat involved.
So apart from the aesthetic, what's the appeal of pleather? If I'm honest, I'm not primarily drawn to it because it means an animal hasn't died to make my gloves, it's more about cost.
Leather fresh from the runway is pricey and with my penchant for the stuff I'd be skint WAY before you can say Alexander McQueen dress to-die-for.
The catwalk shows led with punk scenes, sultry shades and gothic glamour - it's my duty to follow. Alas, I'm a girl who needs a far more affordable alternative.
Pleather has always had a bit of an "urgh-so-tacky" reputation but these days I think it's well on its way to being a staple textile. So much so that the high street is brimming with credible faux styles that look just like real leather and they're trans-seasonal too.
Richard Cope, Director of Trends for Mintel believes pleather is part of a wider trend of "fauxthenticity" which is very much about products looking, feeling, smelling and even tasting like the thing they are imitating.
He says: "This trend is about enjoying the fact that the products in question are pretenders, it's about being upfront and honest by wearing your credentials on your sleeve and feeling good about it."
The explosive nature of this trend goes way beyond pleather - the recession as a whole has created an instinctive savvyness amongst us consumers. Richard says: "it's about being ethical yes, but also about affordability and offering practicable alternatives." For me, that's exactly why pleather is the way to go when you can't quite stretch to the designer price tag.
So how, do you wear it? Jackie Bodikian, senior womenswear stylist at My Wardrobe, says: "A pleather pleated skirt can be teamed with a chunky knit jumper and brogues for a relaxed, cool grungy look which was very dominant in the AW13 collections. Make sure the skirt isn't too short or else it can cheapen the look."
If you're not one for skirts then fear not because Jackie says that boxy jackets and pleated trousers are also a way to work this trend. Lastly, and most crucially - "don't go overboard and attempt to do pleather head to toe."
There's no use shrugging off this trend - it's no throwaway thing. The pleather the better I say.
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